‘Step One’ of Phase 2 Reopenings will Occur Monday, June 8
GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll wish to share information about the second phase of Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase approach for reopening the state and the mandatory guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen next week.
On Saturday, June 6, Gov. Baker announced the second stage of the state’s reopening plan. The plan will allow additional industries to reopen Monday, June 8. All industries allowed to reopen will need to adhere to state and local restrictions.
Monday will mark “step one” of Phase 2. Industries eligible to reopen on Monday and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Restaurants, which will be allowed to offer outdoor dining options for patrons, in addition to their takeout and delivery services.
- Retail spaces, which will be allowed to have limited amounts of in-store customers. This guidance does not apply to Farmers’ Markets.
- Golf facilities, including information about on-site restaurants and pro-shops, which will be allowed to reopen in Phase 2.
- Operators of Lodging, including hotels, motels and other lodging businesses.
- Outdoor recreation, including parks, athletic fields, open space and outdoor education programs.
Hospitals and community health providers will also be allowed to offer less-urgent preventative care, such as teeth cleanings, vision services and certain elective non-urgent procedures, starting Monday. This does not include elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs.
Step two of Phase 2 will allow for the reopening of such industries as nail salons, massage therapy, tattoo parlors and tanning salons. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer indoor dining as part of step two.
Baker said Saturday that public health data will determine when Phase 2 moves from its first step to its second step, with a determination coming over the course of the next week.
The State’s decision to move forward with Phase 2 reopenings was in part due to the positive trend of COVID-19 testing rates. According to the State’s Dashboard of Public Health Indicators dated Friday, June 5, three of the six indicators are currently trending positive, which also includes the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals and the State’s testing capacity.
More information, as well as the industries that reopened in Phase 1 and those specific reopening guidelines, can be found here.
On Wednesday, June 3, the Gloucester City Council, on recommendation from the Mayor’s Office, initiated a temporary amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance that will allow restaurants, retail and other consumer services to use outdoor spaces to the extent it is safe and feasible to operate. For example, outdoor use must allow customers to maintain a social distance from one another while patronizing the business.
For businesses interested, the temporary outdoor seating permit application is now available online. Applicants will need to include a dimensioned sketch of the proposed temporary outdoor table/seating plan with their application. All fees have been waived for this permit and the City is prepared to provide an expedited review.
“These temporary changes are an important step in the reopening of the state, and our team is doing everything we can to help our local businesses and stimulate the economy,” said Mayor Romeo Theken. “We are excited about the opportunities this presents for Gloucester business owners, and we will continue to assist them every step of the way as we prepare to return to a normal way of life. In the meantime, we hope everyone will continue to follow social distancing guidance and practice good hygiene in order to keep each other as safe and healthy as possible.”
Public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 case data in the state daily, and the data will serve as a guide for progressing through additional phases of the reopening plan.
General, mandatory safety standards that all businesses must adhere to include:
- Requiring employees, vendors and patrons to practice social distancing (maintaining six feet between each other), establishing protocols to allow for social distancing among employees and providing signage to promote the practice.
- Requiring face coverings or masks for all employees, and providing physical partitions taller than a standing worker where physical distancing is challenging, if necessary (i.e. cashiers).
- Providing hand washing opportunities and supplies throughout the workplace to ensure that employees are able to frequently do so.
- Regularly disinfected high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs and restrooms throughout the workplace.
- Providing training for employees on social distancing and hygiene.
- Requiring that any employee who displays symptoms related to COVID-19 stay home from work.
- Establishing a plan for employees who contract COVID-19, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and a return-to-work plan.
More information about the mandatory safety standards can be found here.
Additional restrictions may be implemented for specific businesses, industry sectors or municipalities in order to prevent local outbreaks and will be shared when they become available.
Residents are still urged to stay home as much as possible in order to limit their risk for exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Those who are 65 or older, or have been identified as high risk individuals should they contract the virus are asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect.
Should residents leave their homes for any reason, they are asked to take the following steps to help prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:
- Wear a face mask or cloth face covering when social distancing is hard to maintain.
- Practice social distancing at all times by remaining 6 feet away from others when you must leave your home for trips to open businesses or facilities.
- Wash your hands, and clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops.
- Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with others.